He carried out the Cronje policy of comfortable, lethargic squatting, doubting not that the place must fall into his hands sooner or later. Friends and relations tripped over from Johannesburg to admire and encourage his brave burghers at their posts, and some were even allowed as a treat to fire a shot at the Khakis. No serious operation occurred until the end of the year.
Again the Guiana jungle comes wonderfully to the eye and mysteriously to the mind; again my khakis and sneakers are skin-comfortable; again I am squatted on a pleasant mat of leaves in a miniature gorge, miles back of my Kartabo bungalow. Life elsewhere has already become unthinkable.
The first objective of French's movement was the town of Ermelo, where Botha was acting as a sort of rearguard to cover the retreat of the fugitive burghers, who with their families and their stuff were endeavouring to escape from the Khakis.
"That Hetty child is sure one woman. This skirt would never have held together to ride back in, so she goes down as far as the narrow gauge in the wagon with Buck Devine, wearing a charming afternoon frock of pale blue charmeuse rather than get into a pair of my khakis and ride back with her own lawful-wedded husband; yes, sir; married to him safe as anything, but wouldn't forget her womanhood.
'Kitty, Kitty, isn't it a pity, In the city you work so hard, With your one, two, three, four, five, Six, three, seven, five, Cerrard? Kitty, Kitty, isn't it a pity, That you're wasting so much time? With your lips close to the telephone, When they might be close to mine! When Edith's eye was suddenly attracted by the appearance of a boy in khakis, who was in a box to her right.
'Aven't seen a proper spicy paper for a year. Good old Jerrold's!" Pinewood and Moppet, reservists, flung themselves on McBride's shoulders, pinning him to the ground. "Lie over your own bloomin' side of the bed, an' we can all look," he protested. "They're only po-ah Tommies," said Copper, apologetically, to the prisoner. "Po-ah unedicated Khakis. They don't know what they're fightin' for.
They nearly always had a British force close on their heels, and no sooner had they outspanned for a rest than it would be "Inspan trek." "Up you get, Khakis; the British are coming!" Then pom-pom-pom, whew-w-w-w, as shells came singing over the rear-guard. At these interesting moments they used to put the prisoners in the extreme rear, so that the British if they saw them, could not fire.
Then his lower lip began to pout, and tears rolled down his cheeks. "What's the matter, my son," asked the astonished father, "doesn't he like his khakis?" "No, daddy," replied the little chap, striving with his tears. "Why not, my lad?" Then the child's restraint gave way, and he burst out "Oh, daddy, they're not sob real sob soldiers at all!" They were two of the C.I.V. But to return.
But on that depot platform or in presence of that staring group on the steps of the Pullman, you suddenly discover yourself to be nothing less than a disgrace to your bringing up. Nothing could be more evident than the flop of your hat, the faded, dusty appearance of your blue shirt, the beautiful black polish of your khakis, the grime of your knuckles, the three days' beard of your face.
During the whole cold night I slept but little, and I fervently wished for the day to come, and felt exceedingly thankful when the sun arose and it got a little warmer. Proceeding, we crossed the ridges east of Bethel, and as this village came in sight my groom Mooiroos exclaimed: "There are a lot of Khakis there, Baas."